A defender is a player whose primary responsibility it is to prevent the opposition team from scoring goals.

Defenders are the last line of defence in a team, acting as a shield for their team's goal and actively seeking to impede the opposing team's attacking plays. Their job is critical in maintaining a solid and strong defensive framework and supporting the overall team plan.

Roles and Responsibilities

A defender's roles and responsibilities differ based on their place in the defensive line. However, there are some traits and roles that characterise a defender in football.


Defenders are in charge of marking and closely tracking opposing attackers. They try to stay near to the attacker they are assigned to, limiting their movement and making it harder for them to receive passes or score goals.


Defenders must be adept at tackling. They use their timing, technique, and physicality to reclaim the ball from the opposition, either by dispossessing the opponent cleanly or by executing a well-timed slide tackle.


Defenders must anticipate their opponent's passes and moves in order to intercept the ball and disrupt the attacking action. This necessitates good spatial awareness, positioning, and game reading.

Aerial and Heading Abilities

Defenders frequently participate in aerial confrontations, particularly during set pieces such as corners or free kicks. They win headers and clear the ball away from danger by using their height, jumping skills, and timing.


Communication is essential for defenders in arranging the defensive line and cooperating with their colleagues. They give directions, issue warnings, and make certain that everyone is in a position to defend effectively.


When under pressure, defenders must be able to clear the ball away from their own goal. This could include powerful kicks or headers to clear the ball from dangerous locations and reset the defensive line.

Physicality and Mental Awareness

Defending can be both physically and mentally challenging. Defenders must remain focused, composed, and resilient even while under duress. They must be able to make quick choices, remain calm under pressure, and adapt to changing field conditions.

Vision and Distribution

While their primary focus is on defense, modern defenders are also expected to contribute to the team's offensive play. They frequently start assaults by making accurate passes from the back and moving the ball forward to their midfielders or strikers.


Football defenders are classified as follows:

  • Center Back
  • Full Back
  • Wing Back
  • Sweeper
Center Back

The centre back, often known as a central defender, is usually located in the centre of the defensive line. Their major duty is to impede opposing attacks and keep them from breaching the team's defensive line.

  • CB
Key Attributes
  • Tackling
  • Physicality
  • Positioning
Full Back

The center backs are flanked by full backs on either side. They play both defense and support for the team's attacking play.

  • LB
  • RB
Key Attributes
  • 1v1 Defending
  • Positioning
  • Defensive Discipline
Wing Back

Wing backs are an offensive version of the full back position that is frequently seen in formations with three central defenders. Their requirements are comparable to those of full backs, but with an emphasis on offensive contributions.

  • LWB
  • RWB
Key Attributes
  • Attacking Flair
  • High Pace
  • Overlapping Runs
  • Crossing and Passing
  • Defensive Discipline

Although the sweeper position is less common in modern football, it is still used in several tactical schemes. The sweeper is the last line of defense, playing behind the center backs.

  • CB
Key Attributes
  • Reading the Game
  • Playmaking Ability
  • Pace and Stamina
  • Participating in Attacks